India is the second most populous country in the world, with almost 60 percent of the population living in urban areas. That number is rapidly increasing, putting stress on water and sanitation services. Due to its size and persistent poverty, India bears the largest health burden attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) globally.
Building upon the success of past WASH programming, between 2020 and 2024 USAID/India aims to increase sustainable access and use of sanitation and practice of key hygienic behaviors, improve access to safe drinking water among the vulnerable population, strengthen policies and institutional capacity for WASH sector governance, enhance financing leveraged and mobilized from private and public sources, and increase gender equality through their roles in public or private sector institutions or organizations.
USAID also works with the Government of India and other partners to create awareness about sanitation issues and generate demand for solutions. The results of a USAID-supported cleanliness survey conducted in 73 cities aided government officials in determining particular issues related to sanitation. This sparked a demand from all 4,041 cities in India for data to inform future service and planning decisions.
Other USAID efforts including working with partners to develop methods to make clean water available at a low cost, such as establishing clean water kiosks and training community members in how to turn the kiosks into a profitable business. USAID partners train government officials at the city, state, and national levels on new techniques that can help their cities become cleaner, faster. USAID also works with community members in designing community toilets and promoting good handwashing habits.